How to Manage Remote Finance Teams

How to Manage Remote Finance Teams

The remote work trend may have accelerated during the pandemic, but at this point it’s clearly here to stay. Working from home is the new norm for many organizations—finance teams included. In a survey by Deloitte, 63% of finance professionals said they wanted to split time between home and the office after the pandemic. About 14% preferred to work from home full-time, while less than 11% wanted to return to the office entirely.

In other words, CFOs should prepare to keep their teams working from home—at least part of the time—for the foreseeable future. But a remote workforce brings unique challenges that require creative solutions. To help you confront these challenges, we’ve compiled some strategies for managing remote finance teams effectively.

Invest in Technology

Technology is an essential aspect of remote work, and you have to fully embrace it if you want remote finance teams to be successful. First, you need to make sure that all employees have the necessary hardware, like laptops or desktop computers, smartphones, headphones, and printers.

Next, you need to supply them with software. They have to be able to access all company platforms and storage systems, as well as collaboration tools like Slack or Asana. They might also need access to ERPs, accounting programs, scheduling and project management tools, and video conferencing apps. This is why it’s so important to use cloud-based SaaS applications that employees can access from anywhere.

Get Serious About Security

Remote finance teams present some extra security risks. For example, you have to ensure that all employees are storing and sending financial information safely. Account numbers and credit card details should never be written down or sent via email or text, and identities should always be verified before releasing any personal identifying information. These kinds of things can be harder to control when people are working from home.

Ask your IT team to set up additional security measures for remote employees like company-approved devices, VPNs, and password managers. They can also educate staff about security threats and common scams like email phishing. Make sure every employee is aware of the company’s security policies, and hold extra training sessions if needed.

Embrace Automation

Implementing automation can save your employees time and effort, improve their productivity, and boost your bottom line. It also reduces the likelihood of human error, making your data and reports more accurate and reliable. Automation is especially important for remote teams because it streamlines operations and centralizes information.

You can automate expense management, data entry, purchase approvals, invoicing, and countless other processes, freeing up your finance teams for more strategic tasks. Reducing tedious manual work also raises employee morale. When combined with the improved work-life balance of working from home, the result is a much happier and more efficient finance team.

Expand Your Talent Search

Since proximity to a physical office isn’t necessary for remote staff, you may want to expand your recruitment worldwide. In addition to broadening the talent pool, there are many other advantages of creating a truly global workforce. Here are just a few things it can help you do:

  • Foster diversity
  • Encourage cultural exchange
  • Attract top talent with the promise of remote work
  • Capitalize on business opportunities in new markets

Keep in mind that having employees around the globe also presents new issues, like differences in time zones and holidays. But these are easy to work around as long as communication is clear and responsibilities are well defined.

Build a Positive Company Culture

Maintaining a strong company culture is essential to attract and retain quality employees, but working remotely can complicate things. Coffee breaks, impromptu meetings, and spur-of-the-moment social gatherings don’t happen online the way they do in the office, so companies with remote teams need to create opportunities for team building. Some examples are virtual happy hours, digital game nights, and even worldwide gift exchanges.

Beyond the social aspects of company culture, it’s also important to ensure that your employees’ professional needs are being met. Make sure they have all the supplies they need for their home office, access to professional development resources, good benefits, and sufficient vacation days. This shows your employees that you care about their well-being, regardless of where they’re working from.

Use Communication Tools

Remote work can make communication especially difficult. The key is to use digital tools like collaboration platforms and video conferencing to keep everyone connected. Any tools you use for budgeting, invoicing, or paying bills should also support multiple users and allow for comments and discussion within the platform. This will help employees not only to stay in touch, but also to communicate about important tasks.

You can also make collaboration easier by storing documents and spreadsheets on the cloud, for example through Google Drive or Dropbox, instead of keeping files on individual employees’ computers.

Establish Clear Roles and Responsibilities

If you have remote or hybrid employees, you should have a clear and comprehensive remote work policy. Outdated or nonexistent policies only lead to confusion and conflict. Outline each employee’s role and responsibilities, and make sure to set guidelines for any problematic situations that could arise. If everyone knows exactly what’s expected of them from the start, you’re less likely to run into issues down the road.

Set Goals and Targets

When working remotely, it’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day operations and forget about long-term strategic goals and initiatives. This can have a huge impact on things like budget reviews, which need to be forward-thinking and informed by various departments. Make sure you have clearly defined goals and KPIs to measure progress toward them. The more specific your targets are, the easier it is to keep everyone on track to achieve them.

Use Project Management Tools

Project management tools offer all kinds of benefits when it comes to managing remote finance teams. One of the biggest challenges of virtual projects is getting everybody on the same page. Most project management software allows for real-time communication and collaboration, which helps to align activities and goals. You can use features like discussion boards, document sharing, and interactive timelines to create a centralized system for everyone.

Encourage Regular Check-Ins

Employee engagement is vital for a remote finance team to succeed, but it requires some extra effort. You have to let your staff know that their opinions are valued and encourage active involvement. One way to do this is by regularly checking in with employees, either one-on-one or in groups. During these virtual meetings, open the floor up to them to discuss recent achievements, challenges, and feedback. Remote employees need to know that their voices are still being heard.

Foster a Sense of Community

Perhaps the biggest challenge of managing a remote team is maintaining the sense of community that used to be associated with an office. The best professional relationships often have personal aspects as well, and this shouldn’t be overlooked when working remotely.

One way to foster a sense of community is to create non-work-related communication channels for personal updates, random discussions, or even complaints. You might also want to send employees company merchandise or schedule annual team building events where everyone can meet and interact in person.

To learn how Mesh can help your finance team thrive remotely, book a demo with one of our reps.


How can technology be used to manage remote finance teams effectively?

Utilize technology by providing necessary hardware, software, and cloud-based applications for remote access, along with investing in security measures.

Why is automation important for remote finance teams?

Automation saves time, reduces errors, and allows for streamlined tasks, improving productivity and enabling focus on strategic work.

What are the benefits of expanding the talent search globally for remote finance teams?

Expanding the talent search globally provides access to a wider talent pool, promotes diversity, and opens opportunities in new markets.

How can companies build a positive company culture for remote finance teams?

Foster team building through virtual events, provide resources for home offices, support professional development, offer good benefits, and encourage effective communication.

What steps can be taken to establish clear roles and responsibilities for remote finance teams?

Create a comprehensive remote work policy that outlines roles, responsibilities, and expectations to avoid confusion and conflicts.

How can project management tools benefit remote finance teams?

Project management tools facilitate real-time communication, collaboration, organization, and progress tracking for remote teams.

How can regular check-ins and communication foster employee engagement in remote finance teams?

Regular check-ins provide opportunities for feedback, discussions, and employee involvement, fostering a sense of value and connection.

How can a sense of community be fostered within a remote finance team?

Establish non-work communication channels, organize virtual social interactions, and consider in-person events to encourage personal connections and community building.

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